Insurance coalition moves to reel in illegal fishing

More than 20 firms come together to reject insurance for illegal fishing boats

Insurance coalition moves to reel in illegal fishing

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

An alliance of insurers has agreed to combat pirate fishing by refusing to provide marine insurance for illegal fishing vessels, which are globally responsible for at least US$10 billion worth of unregulated catch each year.

The agreement was signed by over 20 companies, headlined by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, AXA, Generali, Hanseatic Underwriters and the Shipowners’ Club. The United Nations has also lent its support to the project.

The insurers’ coalition will reject coverage for more than 100 vessels engaging in illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing that are part of a blacklist maintained by the European Union, reports Reuters. The EU blacklist is based on reports from regional fisheries management agencies worldwide.

In the past, pirate fishers have exploited legal loopholes, allowing them to obtain insurance for the vessels that harm marine life.

“We will encourage the adoption of measures that help to reduce and eliminate IUU fishing,” the alliance said in a statement, released at the Our Ocean conference in Malta.  The insurers pledged to “not knowingly insure or facilitate the insuring of vessels that have been officially blacklisted for their involvement in IUU fishing.”

According to scientists’ estimates, IUU fishing inflicts financial damage of between US$10 billion and US$23.5 billion a year to the global economy, equivalent to between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish.

Aside from the EU blacklist, the Interpol also issues “purple notices” about pirate ships, but these are not available to the public. Furthermore, a UN agreement issued in 2016 requests countries to deny port access to vessels engaging in IUU fishing.

Related stories:
Japanese fishermen shoring up on insurance amidst geopolitical tensions
Insurance subsidy scheme for fisherfolk unsuccessful
Asia becomes top venue for maritime piracy

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